We all learn about the benefits of providing in-classroom services for children with speech and language delays. My most compelling reasons to provide services in this natural environment include improving generalization of learned skills and modeling strategies for classroom teachers to use when you’re not there.
But how exactly do we do that? I found several different approaches to in-classroom—or even co-teaching—treatment that helped me get results with my students.
- SLP leads a class lesson. Plan a lesson and present to the whole class. Focus on a topic benefiting all students—including the child with communication needs—such as social skills or language strategies. Demonstrate the benefits, and perhaps the teacher will try something similar.
- SLP co-plans and co-teaches. Plan a lesson with the classroom teacher based on appropriate targets for the students. Again, suggest specific strategies based on students’ IEP goals. Then, the teacher presents the lesson and elaborates as necessary. After the lesson, the class breaks into groups with the SLP placing the students with communication needs in the same group to practice and master the new skills together.
- SLP leads a learning center/station. When the entire class works at centers or rotates through stations, set up at one of the stations and lead an activity based on your students’ goals. This station also incorporates general education students, allowing your students to practice target skills in a regular education setting with peers.
- SLP leads a routine activity. For this approach, take control of the class for one activity that is already part of the daily routine, such as snack time, group time or reading to the class. Lead the activity just like the teacher would, but use additional strategies and instructional methods particularly helpful to your students. For example, target IEP goals while modeling language strategies for the teacher.
- SLP assists with routine activity. For this model, the teacher leads a routine activity and the SLP sits behind one or more student(s) to assist as needed. Help students demonstrate skills from IEP goals by providing necessary supports—fading those supports when possible.
- SLP leads a novel activity. Design a new activity for the students, which eventually might become part of the daily routine. This could involve an enrichment time for practicing language or literacy skills. Try designing a “getting ready to learn” exercise that helps put children in a mindset to participate more fully in upcoming lessons.
- SLP assists with novel activity. During a non-routine activity, such as a specials class or a field trip, help one or more students to demonstrate skills from their IEP goals by providing necessary supports and fading supports when possible. This lets you work on generalizing learned skills in new settings.
- SLP adapts materials and supplements instruction. In this final model, the teacher plans her lessons as usual and shares materials with the SLP in advance. Adapt materials to suit your students—adding visuals or simplifying text—and pre-teach the skills before the lesson occurs. After the lesson, review the lesson with students and provide additional instruction and practice as needed.
What successful strategies do you use for in-classroom services? Share your insights and advice in the comments below.
Carrie Clark, MA, CCC-SLP, founded Speech and Language Kids and enjoys creating plans and guides for speech-language pathologists based on current research.